This summer, while in Milwaukee, I worked with Amii LeGendre on her project Evidence - which she describes as "a custom-made solo performance for a single spectator" which "is choreographed based on your response to a questionnaire about your life experiences." In rehearsals Amii lead us through a process to create, frame and present our solos. Then, from a group of people who requested a solo, we each picked a person, got their questionnaire, and created and performed a solo just for them. The solos ranged in time from 10 minutes to an hour and performed in a site-specific location. And even though the solo was performed in situations in which other people could view it, it was performed for that one person.
The first solo I created was a "practice" solo for one of the other dancers, N., who was participating in the Evidence process. When I began going through her questionnaire I had no idea what to do and felt alittle lost. But over time I just kept reading and re-reading the answers she supplied and slowly ideas, images and movement possibilities kind of bubbled up. One of the first ideas was N.'s response to the question, "Who has helped you recently?". She responded by writing, "My closest friend is always helping me lighten up."I thought that is also something I could help with, so I constructed a section in which I danced (big, peripheral, sustained movements) and then stopped to tell her a really dorky joke - for example, "What kind of hair does the ocean have? Wavey.", or "Why does the flamingo lift up one leg? Because if she lifted up two she'd fall over." Total knee slappers. Another section consisted me doing 5 different movement phrases because 5 is her favorite number. There were a total of 6 sections and the performance lasted about 15 minutes.
What was so incredible about doing this performance was the attention that we gave to one another. For me there was no distraction, no gab between my intention and feedback from N. because it was very clear for whom and why I was performing this dance . She was seemed very focused and attentive during the whole time because, I believe, the solo was only for her. This single focus between us created a bubble in which we were operating and was quite magical. Because there was such an intimacy of communication there was instant feedback anytime I did anything. Even though I was fairly nervous before it started, once it started it felt like everything I did was easy and appreciated in a way that I have rarely felt from an audience - no matter how big or small.
In my next entry I'll discuss my experience creating and performing a solo for a complete stranger.